Noritaka Tatehana


7/October/2023 - 18/November/2023

KOSAKU KANECHIKA is pleased to present Noritaka Tatehana’s solo exhibition “Syncretism” from October 7 to November 18, 2023.


In this, the artist’s ninth solo exhibition with the gallery, Tatehana echoes past themes by presenting work that reflects on value systems drawn from an examination and re-interpretation of Japanese culture from a modern perspective. In particular, the central piece of the exhibition, “Descending Painting (Double Doors),” is a seigan triptych that focuses on the methodological concept of binary homogeneity and Shinto-Buddhist syncretism.


Shinto-Buddhist syncretism was also the primary theme of Tatehana’s 2020 solo exhibition “Dual Dialogue,” which presented the work “Duality Painting” that embodied the notion of two perspectives coexisting in a single work. To date, this critical pursuit of motifs and forms unique to Japanese culture endures as the basis of Tatehana’s creative practice. Throughout the exhibition, Tatehana attempts to explore the conceptual theories of binary homogeneity, which he sees as a concept particular to Japan, and an Eastern counterpart to the Western idea of binary opposition.


Tatehana provided the following statement regarding his latest exhibition.


By inheriting things that appear contradictory and paradoxical at first glance, new meanings, interpretations, and values are born.


Just as the act of embracing another person transforms two beings into one, we explore the affinity between different symbolic elements such as life and death, heaven and earth, and man and woman. Through examining these dichotomies, syncretic theories of binary homogeneity and binary opposition are explored in my work.


Formerly in Japan, there existed a phenomenon known as “shinbutsu shogo,” in which the Shinto and Buddhist religions were merged after a history of repeated separation and integration. Since the introduction of Buddhism from the Korean kingdom of Baekje in the 6th century, the merged belief systems have developed as a single body in Japan, and have also been referenced as the reason for the iconography of deities that emerged, in addition to preexisting and revered sacred objects in Shintoism—the jewel, mirror, and sword.
Furthermore, starting in the Nara period in the 8th century, a formalized and widely-accepted amalgamation of Shinto and Buddhist traditions led to the establishment of sites known as “jingu-ji” and “shingan-ji,” where Buddhist temples were situated within Shinto shrine compounds. Readily normalized in various aspects of society and culture, this syncretism of religions began to spread swiftly from the capital to neighboring regions.


The Meiji Restoration’s policy of shinbutsu bunri (1868), which prohibited the ancient practice of Shinto-Buddhist syncretism, triggered an anti-Buddhist movement throughout Japan. At the same time, Japan ended its isolationist foreign policy as a result of the influx of foreign civilizations and external trade. This shift marked a period of modernization that resulted in the Japan we know today. Due to this historical background, the concept of syncretism has come to represent a set of values that have become ingrained in the fabric of Japan that are not found in other countries. And, it is through syncretism that the theory of binary homogeneity has been put into practice.


The methodological concept of binary homogeneity, which contrasts with binary opposition, serves as an extension of the artist’s former themes. Continuing on from the presentation of “Duality Painting” in his 2020 solo exhibition, Tatehana revisits this theme once again due to the fact that it is a value system that has been uniquely cultivated and continuously passed on in Japan, and because of his conviction that it could evolve into a cultural and philosophical value system that could become highly regarded throughout the modern world. These works connect with research and observations about history and modern times, as well as the future. Featuring a series that embodies the continuity of Tatehana’s creative practice, this exhibition presents forty-three new works.


General information

Noritaka Tatehana "Syncretism"

October 7 - November 18, 2023
Opening reception: October 7, at 5 pm - 7 pm

11 am - 6 pm
Closed on Sun, Mon and National Holidays

TERRADA Art Complex 5F
1-33-10 Higashi-Shinagawa

Free admission

Noritaka Tatehana

Noritaka Tatehana was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1985 to a family that ran a public bathhouse called “Kabuki-yu” in the Kabuki-cho district, but he grew up in the city of Kamakura. The future artist learned to create with his own hands as a young child under the tutelage of his mother, a creator of dolls based on the Waldorf education method. Tatehana graduated in 2010 from the Department of Crafts at Tokyo University of the Arts, specializing in textile arts. While researching the culture associated with traditional Japanese Oiran courtesans, the artist created geta (traditional wooden clogs) and kimonos using yuzen-zome, a traditional Japanese dyeing technique. Tatehana has presented his work in exhibitions such as “Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion” (The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2012), “Image Makers” (21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, 2014), and “Contemporary Japanese Crafts” (an exhibition touring Tokyo, Miyazaki, Kyoto, and Nagoya, 2020-22). He has also held various solo exhibitions, including “NORITAKA TATEHANA: Aesthetics of Magic” (Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, 2016), “It’s always the others who die” (POLA Museum Annex, 2019), “NORITAKA TATEHANA: Refashioning Beauty” (Portland Japanese Garden, 2019), and “Distance” (Hagi Uragami Museum, Yamaguchi, 2023), as well as other exhibitions held in New York, Paris, and Belgium. Tatehana has also worked on a wide range of other projects, including producing a bunraku performance in 2016 at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Arts in Paris. His works have been acquired by internationally acclaimed institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Continuing on from his work on the second edition of the “Edo Tokyo Rethink” exhibition in 2022, Tatehana directed the third edition of “Edo Tokyo Rethink” (Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, 2023) focusing on traditional crafts and industries of Tokyo, an event that was part of the “Edo Tokyo Kirari Project,” a cultural program organized by the city of Tokyo.


  • Descending Painting (Double Doors), 2023

  • Descending Painting (Double Doors), 2023

  • Descending Painting (Double Doors), 2023

  • Descending Painting (Folding Screen), 2023

  • Descending Painting (Folding Screen), 2023

  • Thunder, 2023

  • Descending Painting, 2023

  • Descending Painting, 2023

  • Descending Painting “The Sun Breaking through Clouds”, 2023